Birmingham Poverty Truth Commission shares its findings

Published: Wednesday, 12th July 2023

Birmingham’s Poverty Truth Commission will share its findings about residents’ struggles with bills, food, health and housing at a special event today (12 July 2023).

Over the past two years, the Commission has met with and had in-depth conversations with citizens and community organisations as well as policy makers and influencers: the outcomes are being presented to an audience of stakeholders at Birmingham Hippodrome this afternoon.

Birmingham City Council has funded the second phase of this bold and innovative work – initiated by Barrow Cadbury Trust in 2017 – after seeing how it helped achieve greater understanding of poverty and people’s experiences of it.

They have shared stories and experiences about their lives with the aspiration that strategy, systems and delivery might change as a result of greater understanding.

A series of listening sessions, facilitated by Thrive Together Birmingham, heard people’s personal experiences of poverty - in the recognition that those living in disadvantaged communities and struggling themselves can offer real insight into what is needed for change to be achieved.

As a result, the Commission sought to build relationships, deepen understanding of difficulties residents face on a daily basis, to help improve perceptions, challenge stereotypes and lead policy-makers to make better informed, more effective decisions.

Today’s event will showcase the importance of engaging with communities, as well as celebrating the conclusion of this programme’s second phase and the contributions of the Commission’s members.

Cllr Nicky Brennan, Cabinet Member for Social Justice, Community Safety and Equalities, said: “Poverty isn’t just not having enough to live on, it’s health inequalities, housing issues and child poverty, but also in-work poverty especially as the Cost of Living crisis continues. 

“We have tried to address some of the immediate challenges people are facing through our Cost of Living Programme, supporting more than 100 food banks and over 200 Warm Welcomes.

“However the disparity between the life lived by people in the city centre, in the suburbs and beyond it shows there is far more work to be done on tackling poverty and its causes across our city.

“The Commission has found some moving stories, made even more so because they’re real and happening now, which underlines the importance of these conversations and the work they will inform, not just at the city council but across Birmingham.”

Fred Rattley, CEO of Thrive Together Birmingham, added: “Thrive Together Birmingham is proud to have hosted Birmingham’s Poverty Truth Commissions and is grateful for the support of Birmingham City Council in funding and collaborating throughout the process.

“In the current Cost of Living Crisis it is even more important that we devote time to building deep relationships between people with the influence and power with residents in our local communities, so that there is better understanding of the pressures and challenges that are faced by people most impacted by poverty. “

The Birmingham Poverty Trust Commission’s work will continue, with further research and engagement planned, as well opportunities to share this innovative approach that has worked so well for Birmingham.

For more information about the Commission’s work and its achievements so far, visit their website –

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